Cox wonders if NHL tried to kill Crosby; WGS barfs


Cox wonders if NHL tried to kill Crosby; WGS barfs

By Mary Paoletti

This is awful: "NHL may have put Crosby at risk in Winter Classic"

Now, I pretend to hate Canada the way all good Americans should...

It'sChristmas in Canada

...but my dislike for Damien Cox's column has nothing to do with it running on the Toronto Star's website. I wasn't even bothered by the fact that the little weather box in the top left of the header said it was -20 Celsius. Celsius sucks. I had to look up an online conversion tool to find out what the real temperature is.

No, I was annoyed because Cox took a potentially interesting idea -- "The impact of Sidney Crosbys potential absence from the NHL all-star game next weekend varies depending on the perspective one holds on the event" -- and turned it into a 689-word exercise in jock sniffing.

Hes the best player in the world right now. Hes the games leading ambassador. Hes the captain of one of the two NHL teams, Pittsburgh and Washington, which matter far more to the NHL than any of the other 28. He would, without question, be the No. 1 pick in Fridays all-star fantasy draft if hes healthy.

So if the game matters, the fact that Crosby wont be there matters.

I won't argue this point. Though I don't always like Criesby, I love hockey and he's important to the league.

But then:

In other words, did the NHL put its top attraction in jeopardy and eliminate him from participating in not only recent games with the Penguins but also the all-star game by staging the Winter Classic the way that it did?


...putting a hockey rink in the middle of a football field, with no stands close to the boards, totally changes the feel of the ice surface and the depth perception of the players.Adding to the problem was the rain.... It affected visibility as well as the ice for both skating and puck handling.Finally, the game was moved to the evening from the afternoon, something that never happens in the NHL. Hockey players are creatures of habit the morning skate, the afternoon nap, the pre-game meal and even an afternoon game can throw them off.

Cox: Are you serious?

Are you really exploring the idea that various factors -- some man-made, like the outdoor rink, and some "acts of God," like napping -- conspired together with David Steckel to create a death trap for Sidney Crosby?

That can't be right because that's freaking absurd.

So maybe these "factors" just coincided with the Steckel hit, and the point of note is the fact that the whole thing could have been avoided entirely?

Oh, please.

The Kid has already played in a Winter Classic, in the event's 2008 debut. With only four games in WC history, Pittsburgh has played in 50 of them because of Crosby. That's it. The NHL smartly used his nameface in opposition to Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin's to bring max hype to the game.

It's not like the two teams in the previous season's Stanley Cup finals (Flyers, Blackhawks) are promised the Winter Classic and that promise had to be honored. Selecting the Pens and Caps was a choice. And that selection is an honor.

But Cox acts like Crosby was cursed.

...heres the compelling point: Few have ever seen Crosby get hit like he was by Steckel, seemingly caught unaware of his position on the ice and, more importantly, the position of opposing players and his proximity to danger.

He curled back towards the end of the rink as the play headed the other way. He never saw Steckel coming until he felt the Washington centres right shoulder crash into the left side of his head. And this is the most aware hockey player on the planet.

It just wasnt very Crosby-like, and you have to wonder if the altered depth perception, rain, lousy ice and amended schedule played a part.

Hockey players are at risk every single night; they play on a slippery surface and hit each other. I want to find out exactly what the danger quotient was increased to because the players had extra time for afternoon nappies when the game was delayed.

But if the conditions were potentially dangerous for one player then those conditions were dangerous for every player on the ice. Every league protects its stars to some degree -- it's smart business sense, as it is to put those stars in premier events like the Winter Classic -- I get that. This isn't an investigation into how the NHL might have put CROSBYCROSBYCROSBY at risk and failed to protect an investment.

It's gross favoritism.

Cox singles out Crosby's safety with complete disregard for the other players.

If some AHL call-up got one minute of ice time in the Winter Classic and got decapitated in that one minute because the rain caused an opponent to slip and slice the kid's head off with his skate, would that have been cool?

Is that just a risk that Everybody-But-Crosby has to take on a daily basis? What about Ovechkin? He's the NHL's whore, too, but went out there in the rain, apparently risking all seven of his brain cells.

Cox doesn't even bring that up. Know why?


My advice? Act like a normal person instead of a fangirl, Cox. Valentines Day is coming up so just go for it, write Sid an epic love poem instead of using the Toronto Star's sports page.

Dombrowski, Red Sox making adjustments in wake of recent departures


Dombrowski, Red Sox making adjustments in wake of recent departures

In recent days and weeks, the Red Sox have lost their general manager, their vice president of amateur and international scouting, an assistant director of amateur scouting, a member of their analytics department and their mental skills coach.

But Dave Dombrowski, the team's president of baseball operations, insists that the team is not in danger of "brain drain.''

"No, not at all,'' said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in a conference call with reporters. "We've lost some good people, but it's also a situation where we have a lot of good people and I think when you have a good organization, if you're winning and you expose people to situations, (a certain amount of exodus) happens. I think the other part of it is that we're more than capable of filling some of those roles from an internal perspective. We've got some quality people and I think the thing that's great about it is, it allows people to grow.''

Dombrowski announced that, in the wake of the departure of Amiel Sawdaye, the former VP of amateur and international scouting who left Monday to become assistant GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Sox were promoting Eddie Romero, formerly the vice president of international scouting, to the position of senior vice president/ assistant GM.

Romero, the son of former Red Sox utility infielder Eddie Romero Sr. will help Dombrowski in personnel matters and player development, while Brian O'Halloran, who has the same title as Romero, will continue to handle administrative matters including salary arbitration and contactual negotiations.

After the departure of Mike Hazen, who left to become GM of the Diamondbacks last week, Dombrowski interviewed Sawdaye and Romero as Hazen's potential replacements before determining that neither had the necessary experience yet to become a major league GM.

Dombrowski said there would be additional internal promotions and adjustments to announce in the coming weeks. He added that senior advisors Frank Wren and Allard Baird, each former general managers, would see their responsibilities increase when it comes to conducting trade talks with other organizations.

Sawdaye's departure is one of several this off-season for the front office. Earlier this month, Steve Sanders, who had been the team's assistant director of amateur scouting, left to become director of amateur scouting for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Also, Tom Tippett, a longtime member of the team's statistical analysis staff, will leave soon too pursue other opportunities. The team recently informed mental skills coach Bob Tewksbury that his contact would not be renewed, according to the Boston Globe.

Dombrowski indicated that Laz Gutierrez would be promoted to take the place of Tewksbury.

In other news, Dombrowski revealed that the entire coaching staff -- hitting coach Chili Davis; assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez; first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr.; third base coach Brian Butterfield; bullpen coach Dana LeVangie; pitching coach Carl Willis; and bench coach Torey Lovullo -- had all agreed to return for 2017.

That, of course, is subject to change since Lovullo is believed to be a target of Hazen for Arizona's managerial vacancy.

Dombrowski said the Diamondbacks had yet to request permission to speak with Lovullo, though that may happen soon now that Hazen has hired Sawdaye to fill out his front office.

When Hazen was hired by the Diamondbacks, he was limited to hiring just one member of the Red Sox' Baseball Operations staff. But, Dombrowski added, that limit didn't apply to uniformed staff members such as Lovullo, who would be leaving for a promotion.